Gesäuse Entrance Canyon
A natural monument
The Enns, with 254 km the longest inland river of Austria, shows only here a natural picture. A special feature is the rock step at the entrance to the Gesäuse, the Enns cataract. Power plant planning in this area was an important impulse for nature conservation.
In the area of the Admont Basin, the Enns leaves the boundary between the Greywacke Zone and the Limestone Alps and is forced to break through the Northern Limestone Alps at the Gesäuse Entrance. In the process, the character of the river landscape suddenly changes from a wide valley floor to a narrow notch valley.
Power plant plans and traffic
Around 1800, the Enns still flowed freely meandering up to the Gesäuse. From 1860, the Enns was successively regulated above the Gesäuse.
In 1908 the first power plant plans were made, and in 1954 the construction of the power plant in Hieflau began. The entrance to the Gesäuse was opened up to traffic in the 19th century; previously, long stretches were only accessible along mule tracks. In 1847, the first road through the Gesäuse was opened. In 1872 the railroad line was opened and until 1936 the road was extended to a road. In 1958 the Gesäuse together with the Wildalpener Salzatal was declared the first nature reserve of Styria, which among other things was equivalent to a ban on the construction of power plants. Nevertheless, further power plant projects were submitted at the Gesäuse entrance.
In 1986, the citizens' initiative "Platform Gesäuse" was formed to oppose these projects. In 1988, the Gesäuse Entrance was placed under strict protection with its declaration as a natural monument. In 2002 the official opening of the national park took place. As early as December 2003, the Gesäuse was recognized by the World Conservation Organization (IUCN) as a Category II National Park and has since enjoyed effective international protection status.
Unfortunately, the current traffic situation with rail and road severely restricts accessibility on foot. The Gesäuse National Park is doing everything in its power and is committed to a low-traffic nature experience here!
The Enns is navigable by kayak for experienced water sports enthusiasts; and a special view is offered from the numerous mountains, e.g. from the Planspitze!